Recipe: Traditional New England Indian Pudding

Within my collection of vintage Maine and New England community cook books dating back to the early 1900s are dozens and dozens of recipes for “Indian Pudding.” It’s a humble, mildly sweet and spicy baked cornmeal dessert served warm and paired with whipped or iced cream. Each recipe is as unique as the contributor. Even within one cook book there are sometimes multiple variations offered: Lottie adds tapioca, no eggs while Cora uses eggs and no tapioca. Mary bakes hers in a “slow oven” (lower temp) for four hours while Alice only bakes her for 1 1/2.

After carefully reviewing my vintage sources I am offering you my own kitchen and taste tested (plus Wayne approved!) adaptation that’s made in a cast iron dutch oven.

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Meet My Court Jesters: Long Tail Sally & Wishy

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Now that chipmunk season is almost a wrap-up, it seems like there is a bit of an “after hours” type party happening. I didn’t realize until Chippie’s departure into her burrow that she was quite the watchdog. Chippie reigned from the perch of our deck, chased away other chipmunks from our garden and guarded her territory– that I knew. I also knew that she and her nemesis, El Chippo, were always chasing one another. In her absence he enjoyed a couple of days of playing and jumping on the formerly forbidden places. As an example, I watched him leap from the deck into the garden and then slide down the tomato stakes like a little fireman. Fortunately we had finished harvesting the garden for the season. Then even he went underground and two new characters showed up: Long Tail Sally and Wishy.

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Holiday Entertaining: Timeless Advice

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The above vintage photo of Imogene Wolcott, author of The Yankee Cookbook (1939) and former Food Editor of Yankee Magazine (years unknown) appears in my circa 1940s copy of “Parties Should Be Fun…For You!” which she also authored. There is a Forward by Margery Wilson, former silent film star and authority on entertaining, charm and etiquette who is also one of my favorite authors on that genre.

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Sunset at 4:25 p.m.

After I bought my house in 2009 I researched the original owners and discovered they still lived in town. I invited them over and they brought photo albums of my house and neighborhood. The above photo is my fireplace in my house being built in the 1950s. I love the warmth of the mason and dog looking at one another in an otherwise dark room lit by a hanging light bulb. Adequate illumination is not all about brightness, but the visual warmth and glow and how it influences our mood. With daylight becoming more scarce I have implemented safe flameless firelight therapy.

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Recipe: Maine Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

(Originally published 11/22/2016 on my old blog, Outdated By Design.) I was talking to my 100 year old Nana on the phone yesterday (RIP my lovely Nana who passed this spring) and shared my Thanksgiving menu. She told me that she has never had pumpkin pie! She explained that she’s an apple pie girl. I was the same way, which makes sense since no one in my family ever served it to me until I had my first ever pumpkin pie last year and loved it.

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Vintage View: Shorette’s Diner, Lincoln, Maine

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This vintage view of Shorette’s Diner in Lincoln is circa 1950s. It no longer exists! On the backside: “On Route 2 entering Lincoln, Maine going north, a place to remember, air-conditioned, quick courteous service, the finest of foods, large free parking space. Open 6 AM to 12 PM. Charles R. Shorette & Son, Proprietors.” Color plate by Alton Johnson. Published by Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co., Inc. Belfast, Maine.

Maine’s Record (& Tree)-Breaking October Storm

We were warned Sunday night that there would be hurricane force winds overnight and into the early morning. I got out of bed at 3:30 a.m. to start the coffee earlier than usual in case we lost power. I went to my utility’s outage report website and saw that there were 50k customers without power, then 65k, and it kept rising every time I hit refresh. Next I went out into the sunroom and looked outside into the darkness in my backyard. I was able to see the faint silhouette of the trees in our woods violently swaying back and forth, in particular one very tall white pine. The “soundtrack” to the scene was very unnerving, like a menacing and sustained roar. I went inside and what I heard next was what no one wants to hear.

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Vintage Views of Maine: Old Postcards

I have a new feature coming up on Serene New England: Scans from my vintage Maine postcard collection! I’ll be featuring views of places, restaurants, motels, inns and street views that are either no longer in existence or have changed dramatically over the decades. It’s a fun way to be transported back in time. Wayne and I hope you’ll enjoy looking at them as much as we do.

Shown above is a Plastichrome by Colourpicture Publishers, Boston, published by Don Sieburg, New London, New Hampshire: “Pleasant Mountain Chairlift and Ski Area near Bridgton, Maine. The 4,300 foot chairlift sightseers in summer and skiers in winter. From the summit, scores of lakes and mountains in Maine and New Hampshire can be seen. Photo by Bill Bardsley.” No date given, circa 1950s. Today it’s known as Shawnee Peak.

Before the Clocks Turn

It’s almost November yet we’re still picking tomatoes! I’m savoring these days before darkness invades at 4:00 p.m. when we turn the clocks. Soon we’ll pick the remaining green tomatoes, place them in a brown bag to ripen, and Wayne will dismantle the garden. Chippie and her cousins should be going underground for the season once “normal” fall temps set in.  I always have a tough time transitioning during that first week of early darkness, but then I focus on the holidays and it’s yet another part of why I love living in New England. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be for Thanksgiving and Christmas!